Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why the heck did you buy so much corn?!

Well, corn was 6/$1 at H-E-B when I ventured in at 10 p.m. to grab a rotisserie chicken and attempt to make B a super fast, semi-homemade chicken soup (you can read about how super fast that ended up being here) a few nights ago.  Never one to pass up a bargain (or a milky-sweet cob of fresh corn), I obviously bought $5 worth.

When I got home, B was in a Nyquil coma on the couch, and the ears of corn sat around for a few days.  Faced with constant..."reminders" (which were even more frequent than usual, seeing as B was at home sick just looking at the small harvest of corn day in and day out) about the 30 ears of corn that were "rotting" on the counter, I seasoned them up, and grilled them all at once.

Apparently, I have misplaced these photos, but it was simple stuff: A quick rubdown with olive oil, and then salt and pepper on some, Tajín on the rest (you can use chili powder and lemon pepper for a similar effect).  We wrapped them in foil (who knows about the cleanliness of apartment community grills), and grilled them for about half an hour.

We ate one a piece with our dinner, and then went to bed.  When I woke up this morning, there were 28 foil wrapped cobs of corn staring me down, so I got down to business with my fancy new corn zipper (thanks, B!) and made quick work of stripping the kernels from the ears.  I knew that I wanted to make a roasted corn bisque of some sort, as I've had a couple at different restaurants now, and enjoyed them immensely both times.

After gathering some ingredients I felt should be included, here's what I came up with.  It's a great option if you've got leftover grilled corn from your last BBQ.  Enjoy!

Yes, this soup is thick enough that a little drizzle of cream will sit nicely on top, and the peppers won't sink!

Roasted Corn Soup Bisque

  • 1 C  diced onion (I used yellow because there was one already cut in the fridge)
  • 1      large clove garlic, smashed
  • 4 C  roasted/grilled sweet corn kernels
  • 3 C  vegetable broth
  • 2 C  milk (unflavoured soy milk for a delicious vegan option)
  • 1 C  heavy cream (adds great creaminess, but regular milk is okay, too)
  • 1      cayenne pepper (approximately 6" long), sliced thin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 C  roasted/grilled sweet corn kernels (optional)

  1. Don't stress about dicing the onions in a uniform size, or whether your corn kernels aren't perfect and whole.  We're about to blend the crap out of this.  :)
  2. Add onions, garlic, 4 cups of the corn, and broth to a large pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  We're trying to get the kernels nice and tender here, so that they blend well.
  3. Pour soup into a blender about half a blender-full at a time, and go nuts.  You will pour this back into the pot, half fill the blender again, and continue to go crazy until the whole pot is blended.  It WILL NOT be terribly smooth, so don't worry.  It will get better, but this is, ultimately, a somewhat chewy soup.
  4. Add the milk to blended soup, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
  5. Repeat the blending process from step three, and return to pot when you are satisfied with the texture.  To be honest, I had hoped for a creamier texture, but maybe I just need a better blender. YMMV.
  6. Add heavy cream and cayenne pepper (you can certainly use fresh jalapeños or any other pepper you have on hand - we just had an abundance of cayennes in the garden), and simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors blend.
  7. Salt and pepper the soup to taste (I used tons and tons of freshly cracked pepper), and, if you want a really hearty soup, add an additional 2 cups of corn kernels.  These will stay whole, and provide that lovely pop of sweet corn goodness when you bite into them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quick and Elegant Side: Roasted Dill Carrots

While making chicken soup for the B, I began to think that the carrots I'd sliced on my mandolin (I'm a sucker for uniform thickness, and I kind of suck at doing it myself) were a bit too thin and might become mushy in the soup.  So...what to do - at nearly one in the morning, on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion - with two cups of carrot chips?  Make the Bean the happiest girl in the world, of course!
Great for this side dish, but a bit too thin for a hearty chicken noodle soup...
We've had roasted dill carrots a number of times at one of our local markets, and the Bean absolutely loves them.  However, the last time we went, she paid almost $5 for a small container of them and they were overcooked.  Needless to say, she was pissed and complained how it was ridiculous that every time we came in, the quality was worse, the prices higher, and the portions smaller.

As I mentioned, I was dead on my feet, so I needed to get these carrots done and dusted ASAP.  A quick toss in olive oil, chopped fresh dill (the very first harvest from our little garden!), and a sprinkle of sea salt, and into the oven (at 375° F) they went.
Ready for the oven!
Just ten minutes later, they were barely curling at the edges and ready to come out.  Once they cooled a bit, I popped them in the fridge and hit the sack.  Now you can certainly eat these warm, but we prefer them chilled - the carrots are wonderfully crisp and the dill really has a chance to release its flavor.  

Either way, you have a beautiful side dish that takes about 2 minutes of prep, and 10 minutes of cooking.  It's a fantastic alternative to boring, blanched green beans or bagged salad if you're making a steak, or just as good straight out of the bowl (which is how the Bean ate all of it, in about five minutes).
Less than 15 minutes from start to sleep, thank goodness!